Cornwall

Margaret James fails to overturn murder plot conviction

Peter Solheim and Margaret James
Image caption Margaret James met Peter Solheim through a lonely hearts column

A Cornish grandmother serving a 20-year prison sentence for plotting to murder her lover has failed in the Court of Appeal to clear her name.

Margaret James, 64, of Porthoustock, was convicted in 2006 of conspiring to kill Peter Solheim, 56.

He disappeared in June 2004 and his mutilated body was later found floating five miles off the Lizard.

Her appeal against conviction was rejected by three Court of Appeal judges.

No-one has been convicted of murdering parish councillor and Druid community member Mr Solheim.

Ring clue

The father of two had been drugged and mutilated with a machete or axe before he died from drowning.

The court heard that James met Mr Solheim in September 1995 through a dating column and they started a relationship.

But he also continued a 20-year relationship with another woman.

Prosecutors said James feared that Mr Solheim was about to leave her.

Evidence was put forward by a witness at the trial of her having spoken about finding a tasteless poison with which to lace his food and kill him.

In the appeal hearing in London, her legal team argued that the evidence was "hearsay" and should never have gone before the jury.

It was also argued that further information, not seen by lawyers for James, might now be available which could help her in an appeal against the conviction.

Rejecting the arguments, the judges said when put alongside the other evidence in the case the grounds of appeal did not make the conviction unsafe.

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